Last Friday, we reported on a potential delay in Maine’s adult use marijuana regulations, including rules and processes for obtaining state licenses. This is an update to that alert, based on new information.
The Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (“DAFS”) had been planning to hold a hearing on February 26, 2019, to hear the appeal of one of the losing bidders for a state contract to assist DAFS in writing the regulations that would govern the adult use marijuana commercial system in Maine.
DAFS has now decided to rescind the initial award of the contract along with the underlying Request for Proposals and to essentially re-start the process of hiring a consultant to help draft the adult use marijuana rules. The Portland Press Herald quotes a deputy commissioner of DAFS as saying that “the second consulting solicitation would have a tight deadline for responses, and require the work to be done in several weeks, not months.”
BOTEC, the winning bidder in the first round, expressed an intent to re-submit a bid and publicly expressed optimism that it could complete its work in time for the Legislature to approve the rules before the First Session adjourns on June 19. If the Legislature fails to approve the rules by that date, legislative approval, and thus the effectiveness of the rules, will wait until January 2020, at the earliest.
DAFS’ decision to take this course of action constitutes a marginal improvement over the appeal process the state faced as recently as last Friday, since it allows DAFS to better control the timing of delivery proposed regulations.
Nonetheless, this development still presents significant risks that regulatory approval will be pushed back at least another half-year.